Shock waves rippled across 7th and Montana this morning as Screenwriter Nat delivered a Nasty Surprise. "Good morning, Marty," he said, "Do you mind if I join you ... I don't want to ruin your Zen Morning!" I had been sitting alone, reading the newspaper. "Not at all," I replied, "My Zen usually goes out the window by 8:15, anyway. What's new?" "Well, I just learned that my writing partner has Swine Flu." "Oh," I replied, watching what was left of my Zen slowly drift out my nostrils and up 7th Street, "Have you been in contact with him recently?" "We work together every day," he replied. Fortunately, Nat doesn't have any symptoms and is past the point where he would have contracted the illness, but the incident left me wondering: Perhaps "Gladys Knight" -- the local woman known for parading up and down Montana Avenue wearing a Jousting Helmet over a Surgical Mask -- is onto something. A report from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that surgical masks might provide some limited protection from the H1N1 virus even though they "are not designed to protect against breathing in very small particle aerosols that may contain viruses." I guess that's where the Jousting Helmet comes in ...!